Fran wrote:@ DATo
I agree with most of your post but Joyce was hardly the only writer who was an unpleasant person. I did enjoy some of the chapters of Ulysses but certainly there are a few that pretentious nonsense does not seem an unreasonable assessment.
Have you read Dubliners? .... a beautiful little book of short stories & IMHO by far his best writing. :)
: Nice to know I am not alone in my opinion and thanks for the comment !Fran
: Yes, I've read Dubliners
and I agree that there was a time when Joyce used his formidable powers to write what I would call great prose. Before the truth all heads must bow and I fully acknowledge the fact that Joyce was an exceptionally erudite scholar and capable writer. When Kant wrote Critique Of Pure Reason
he stated that this book was not intended for the general public but only for philosophers to read. If you have ever attempted to read The Critique
you would know why. Joyce made no such claims with Ulysses
for the simple reason that if only scholars of the humanities read it he would make no money. I would temper my criticism of the book (if not of the person himself) if he had made such a claim. I think the reason Ulysses
became so marketable in such a short amount of time was due to curiosity resulting from the fact that it had been banned in the U.S.A. and England.
It is my considered opinion that during the period that Joyce wrote Ulysses
there was a movement in all disciplines of art to innovate new, and tangentially controversial styles. I believe this movement was precipitated by the (eventual) recognition and acceptance of the highly stylistic Impressionist school of painting which one could say began with the first Impressionist exhibition in Paris in 1874. You may recall that this exhibition was vilified by the critics but by the time Joyce was writing Ulysses
(1920s) the paintings of the original Impressionists (Monet, Pissarro, Cezanne, Renoir, Morisot, Degas, Sisley et al) were highly collectable. I believe this motivated artists, writers and composers to follow suit. George Antheil, who also had a connection to Sylvia Beach and Joyce, composed the Ballet Mechanique
which was so outrageously innovative that it literally caused riots in Paris. Others like Gertrude Stein and Picasso were lifting the bar to even more outrageous heights. I think Stein was a poser who had no talent whatsoever; but Picasso, like Joyce WAS an accomplished artist of the conventional school who could back up his innovative style with heavyweight credentials. I don't want to turn this into an essay but can you think of more modern day celebrities who may have borrowed a page from this? HINT: MUSIC - The Beatles (Long hair - VERY controversial in its day) .... SPORTS - Muhammad Ali, John McEnroe Jimmy Connors (Vocally controversial) ... SCULPTURE - Richard Serra (A sculpture installed in an American plaza was considered so controversial that the citizens demanded its removal).
The bottom line - Controversy Sells as long as the controversial innovation is backed up by a foundation of pre-existing demonstration of talent. I remember a quote from a conservative music critic with regard to The Beatles: "Their hair may be long and shaggy but it is well brushed." Q.E.D.
EDIT: Still reading Q's Legacy
and so far it is DELIGHTFUL. Will have a report for you soon in the '84' thread.